Tokyo Police Club’s Smith EP sounds mostly like missing tracks from the A Lesson in Crime EP released last year. If there was a more appropriate end cap for an album, then I haven’t heard it. The EP begins with the track “Box,” an out of place scatting of notes, running up and down in no set pattern. It’s an odd kind of cold opening it meanders for about a minute or so before someone awkwardly coughs and corrects himself. After that, the track proper begins with a jolt, drums driving forward into a stylized synth melody. It has the sound of a well-worn Casio bleating out notes, although when played in the background, it also resembles the scream of a dial-up modem.
“Cut Cut Paste” keeps up this driving momentum, with a decidedly guitar focused sound. The emphasis is placed on lower chords, a rough modulation on the bass accompanies the strong guitars. Also integral to this track is the inclusion of the group choruses scattered throughout the song. Much like songs on their first EP, the group chorus is used sparingly but to great effect, especially here on “Cut Cut Paste.” The third track on Smith is “A Lesson in Crime,” which, as you may remember, happened to be the title of Tokyo Police Club’s first EP. “A Lesson in Crime” certainly feels like an album closer, being a simple piano based track, adorned only by a single vocalist. It’s a much more relaxed and downbeat song that the previous tracks, a subtle mood of melancholy pervading it. Similar to how Smith opened with a seemingly random scatting of notes, so too does most of “A Lesson in Crime” feel, carefree but with a structure in mind. If this were the final track to a Tokyo Police Club album, it’d be a perfect fit, but it’s not, and the following track throws everything off.
The EP closes with “Be Good [Rac Remix],” a remixed song originally taken from A Lesson In Crime. It differs in two main regards, chiefly that the overall sound now has a very distinct ‘machine’ quality to it, and the length of the track is extended by almost a minute. The artificial sound elements in this remix add a hurried subtext to the song, conveying the notion that the song is played faster than the original cut. This remix is difficult to really measure, because, while it is ambitious in what it replaces, it falls short because of exactly that. “Be Good [Rac Remix]” feels too much of a forced remix that detracts from the original cut than something that feels organic.
Overall the Smith EP is pretty good, but suffers from an overproduced and frankly, unnecessary remix. Looking past that infraction, the EP holds up very well to the first release, but more so because it “completes it.” Ideally, when you listen to Smith, it should be immediately after A Lesson in Crime. That’s because these two discs have the feel of one album split into two. Now, if they could just get to that full-length…
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